East Africa

Zambia ropes in railway firms for export of maize to East Africa

The Zambian government has called on the Tanzania Zambia Railways Authority (TAZARA) and Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) to ease the export of 1.2 million tons of maize to East Africa.

Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya said the transport of maize by rail will be cheaper than if done by road. Road freight companies are charging US$85 per ton, which will make the export of Zambian grain unattractive.

“We want you to come up with a better deal that will enable the private sector to move excess grain for export to East Africa,” Siliya said at a meeting with the management of the rail companies.

The meeting was also attended by Transport and Communication Minister Brian Mushimba, as well as several grain traders. The companies are now considering the rates at which they will transport the freight to East Africa. Zambia this year recorded a bumper maize harvest of 3.6 million tons – enough to meet the country’s grain requirements and leaving excess for export.

Government also decided to waiver the 10% export duty and clear other impediments to make Zambian grain more competitive on the international market. East Africa is experiencing a shortage of maize following severe drought.

Last month government facilitated the signing of multimillion dollar grain export deals to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. It also comes with a government pledge to remove the onerous requirements to ensure the smooth flow of grain exports.

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